Changing Golf: Players, coaches discuss impact new golf rule changes have on team

Jess Canaley and Uday Lomada

The new golf rule changes  established in January 2019 forces CHS golfers to adjust to the new demands of the game. The changes include, but are not limited to, putting with the flagstick in the hole, dropping the golf ball from the knee rather than the shoulder and accidental hits when taking practices swings all of which now will not count against the golfer. The new rules are effective in all levels of play from youth to professional matches. According to the United States Golf Association (USGA), there are over 30 total rule changes. Varsity golfer and senior Jack Crawford has played for seven years now and said he is in favor of the changes.

Crawford said the biggest change  for him has been the putting rule.

“There’s a lot of new rule changes but the biggest change is that you can now putt on the green with the flagstick in. My favorite rule however is now you can drop the ball from the knee instead of shoulder height,” Crawford said.

However, golf coach Josh Shelton said the “relief rule,” a rule that simplifies the hazard system, has affected the state the most.

“The ‘relief rule’ has definitely affected not only my players but the team, other teams and even in the tour,” Shelton said. “It’s a change that everyone has to deal with now.”

Previously, a player was not allowed to putt on the green with a flagstick in the hole since it caused delay of game, especially for those without a caddie. Failing to putt without taking the flagpole out would result in a general penalty, one stroke, for the player.

These new rules are meant to benefit the players and apply to all levels of golf on a national scale. The rules were put in place in an attempt to solve arguments and discrepancies between players as well as to eliminate unintentional ball movement, according to Cole Harris, varsity golfer and senior. Harris, who has over ten years of experience in the sport and is acquainted with the rules of the game, said the changes help progress playing time and reduce the length of a game.

“A lot of the rules help speed up play, golf takes a long time to play so the changes try to help make a golf round go by quicker,” Harris said.

Crawford agrees and thinks the rule changes can benefit many players and teams if the team use the rules properly.

“I think the rule changes have benefited some teams so far, but there are a lot of new rules so if people are unaware of them, they can’t use the rules to their advantage,” Crawford said.

Shelton said many of the rules, including a rule about searching for a ball, reduce wasted time.

“The amount of time that you’re granted to look after a lost ball has been decrease from five minutes to three minutes. It’s a big change and I think people look for their ball far too long. Just face reality, drop and move on. Let’s play golf.”